Carotenoids and Vitamin A in Breastmilk of Hong Kong Lactating Mothers and Their Relationships with Maternal Diet

Zhou Lu, Yat Tin Chan, Kenneth Ka Hei Lo, Danyue Zhao, Vincy Wing Si Wong, Yuk Fan Ng, Wing Wa Ho, Liz Sin Li, Hang Wai Lee, Man Sau Wong, Shi Ying Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Carotenoids and vitamin A are nutrients crucial to infants’ development. To date, there is limited data on their availability in breastmilk and the associated dietary factors, especially in Hong Kong, where people follow a westernized Chinese diet. This study determined the selected breastmilk’s carotenoid and vitamin A (retinol) contents by ultraperformance liquid chromatography with photodiode detection (UPLC-PDA) and the dietary intakes by three-day food records in 87 Hong Kong lactating mothers, who were grouped into tertiles based on their daily carotenoid intake. Low vitamin A intake (530.2 ± 34.2 µg RAE/day) and breastmilk retinol level (1013.4 ± 36.8 nmol/L) were reported in our participants, suggesting a poor vitamin A status of the lactating participants having relatively higher socioeconomic status in Hong Kong. Mothers in the highest tertile (T3) had higher breastmilk carotenoid levels than those in the lowest (T1) (p < 0.05). There were significant associations between maternal carotenoid intakes and breastmilk lutein levels in the linear regression models (p < 0.05) regardless of dietary supplement intake. Furthermore, maternal dark green vegetable intakes were associated with breastmilk retinol, lutein, and β-carotene levels. These findings can serve as dietary references for lactating mothers to enhance breastmilk carotenoid and vitamin A contents for the benefits of child growth and development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2031
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • breastmilk
  • carotenoids
  • cross-sectional study
  • dietary intakes
  • lactation
  • maternal diets
  • vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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